Nat Lunatrick is a professional performer and teacher of circus arts. Nat is based in Newcastle, England but through his work gets to travel and has visited over 16 countries. On his travels he carries our Cabin Zero Original Grey Classic 44L bag.
Nat specializes in manipulation and equilabristics, which combines juggling and balance. He can juggle clubs, balls, hats, triangles, fire, knives and I'm sure anything else you could throw at him. All of that while riding a giant unicycle and walking on ropes.
Through Circus Central (a circus school in Newcastle) Nat teaches children and adults on how to build shows, improve their skills and creates performances with them. He also gives private lessons and workshops when he is traveling.
For Nat it's a family affair as his partner and son are also performers. Stage and street shows are performed with his son who is also a uni-cyclist and acrobat.
When was the first time you realised you wanted to perform?
I've always been pretty loud and rambunctious. Class clown and all that hyperactivity. I was involved in the punk and rave scenes for many years and just juggled as a hobby. I started to get really sick of the music industry about the same time as my son was born. I had some friends who were performers, jugglers, stilt-walkers, fire dancers and the like and I started to do a few gigs with them. I really felt suited to it and I enjoyed the excitement of it all so I decided to really commit myself. Ive been a professional performer for about 10 years and its been my sole income for about the last 7 years.
You can juggle, slack-rope walk, eat fire, unicycle and more. Which is the most challenging routine that you perform?
The most challenging thing I do is definitely street performing. I don't do it that often these days but it can be really hard as you have to get people interested very quickly and keep them there, entertained and in tune to the show without coming across as bullying, or aggressive. Its a wonderful exercise in psychology. I don't get stage fright much but I'm always nervous just before a street show. As soon as the show starts, I usually feel very free and powerful.
Are you constantly evolving your act and learning new skills?
I try to train every day, although being self employed, traveling, being a parent and general life often gets in the way. I think of myself as a manipulator of objects rather than a juggler and with the inter-connectedness of the world these days through the internet there are always inspirations coming form all angles. I am currently working on a new show where I incorporate unique circus rigging, lights driven by micro-computers and slack-rope walking to create a dreamy and illuminated show. Some circus artists spend years or even a whole life time developing just one act but I'm too easily bored and distracted for that. I guess for any artist you set goals and once you've achieved them, whether they are the technical skills of doing new tricks, finding new places to perform or people to work with then you push your boundaries and look ahead again.
If someone wants to follow in your footsteps what is the best advice you can give them to get into this line of work?
Find your local juggling club or circus school and make friends with them. Practice, practice, practice. Take every performance opportunity you can. Embrace failure and learn to take criticism constructively not personally.
Our CabinZero bags are very spacious. What equipment do you have to fit in there when you take it on your travels?
I usually travel with 5 juggling clubs, 6 balls, 3 juggling hats, 4 large plastic triangles, a giant unicycle, a rope, water bottle, a portable speaker and head mic and several costumes. All of this, with the exception of my unicycle and the speaker fit in my CabinZero bag and I have often strapped my smaller unicycle or my sons unicycle to the bag as well.
You've travelled to over 15 countries to perform. What were your top 3 favourite places to visit?
Melbourne in Australia was extremely welcoming to me when I landed there after a particularly stressful time when I had my visa to New Zealand refused at the border. Melbourne was unexpectedly verdant, arty and a great city to cycle round. It is quite a hub for circus with the National Institute of Circus Arts, NICA, Circus OZ, Viral Happiness and Spin Circus all based there.
I lived in Scotland for many years and still love to go back there. The people are extremely friendly and up for a laugh.
And while I was only there briefly, I loved Budapest with its crazy Gotham-esque architecture and delicious goulash.
If you had a chance to perform in any show, festival or just be a street performer what and where would it be?
I love the ever changing nature of where and who I perform with. Some of my clients invite me back year on year and that is great to be appreciated but I also love the random offers that come in. I was asked a while ago to do some character work as Willy Wonker and really, who could say no to that but I would really like to be part of a comedy circus theatre company that develops acts that turn the traditional circus on its head and pastiches itself. The thing I love about circus is its an art form for everyone, young or old, rich or poor, from any culture or community on earth, but it has a lot of very staid ways of presenting itself. This has been changing quickly over the past 20 years with the likes of Cirque Du Soliel and No Fit State forging a path for contemporary circus, but I find that a lot of contemporary circus in drifting closer to Dance in that it is presented in a slightly serious, po-faced way that is maybe only accessible to the middle classes. Id like to help sneak some old school clowning and buffoonery back into it but in a knowing way.
Our thanks to Nat for letting us into his fascinating world. Check out more of Nat and the people he works with in the following links: